Posts filed under 'Economy'

“Jobs”

I should probably refine my translation of “jobs” as used by corporations and Republicans (and almost everyone else) from “profits” to “profits for industries which have powerful lobbyists and throw lots of money at corrupt politicians”.

September 23rd, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Services provided to the government by for-profit corporations cost more than those the government performs in-house!  Who knew?

But hey, at least those profits are trickling down and creating jobs and stuff, right?

September 14th, 2011 at 06:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy

Strawman Of The Day

Thomas Sowell courageously attacks those who oppose the creation of wealth.

The thing is, no one that I know of is actually opposed to wealth creation.  But I and most other progressives are opposed to creating wealth solely for the enrichment of the wealthy.  If everyone else had a little more wealth, that just might create a virtuous cycle of consumer demand, increased employment, and yes, more wealth.

1 comment September 8th, 2011 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Unemployment,Wankers

Multipliers

Very good, long story in this week’s NYT Magazine about the decline of manufacturing in the US.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there about lithium-ion batteries and the future of the electric car business, but the biggest takeaway for me is that because “industrial policy” is a dirty word, we now have an economy structured around industries like software and finance that don’t employ nearly as many people as manufacturing, so that even if GDP does start growing, it won’t translate into nearly as many jobs as it should.

It’s kind of like basing a stimulus plan on tax cuts for the rich, in other words.  Or basing an election campaign on appealing to independent voters instead of the base.

1 comment August 29th, 2011 at 07:40am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Unemployment

HAMP For Unemployment

Looking for another way to give desperate people false hope and pretend to solve the problem while actually just benefiting corporations?  I know!  Let’s let people on unemployment work for free and call it “training”!

August 25th, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Unemployment,Wankers

No Room For Improvement

Ezra Klein explains that Obama couldn’t possibly have done a better job, what with his miniscule majorities in both houses of Congress and all.  I particularly like the part where he suggests that Obama would have been less popular and the 2010 bloodbath would have been worse if Obama had passed an effective stimulus and generally done more to live up to his campaign promises.

Because the American people just hate strong politicians who get results, especially when they don’t act like corporate tools.  That’s why FDR was only able to get elected 4 times.  Well, that and dying.

August 23rd, 2011 at 07:51am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Media,Obama,Politics,Wankers

This Just In

Apparently the teabaggers are basically just rebranded Republican theocrats.  If they’re political independents, it’s only because the Republican Party isn’t sufficiently suffused with right-wing religious fanaticism.

But the joke’s on them, because now they’re even less popular than the religious right, and even atheists and Muslims.  Why, they’re even less popular than Obama’s record on the economy, and that’s saying something.

The Tea Party really is the best hope Obama and the Democrats have next year – that they nominate more unelectable crazies like Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon and Christine O’Donnell, and that voters turn against the teabaggers that they elected last year.  Lesser of two evils is pretty much all they have going for them next year, so they’re going to have to be pretty damn lesser to overcome the enthusiasm gap (who could have predicted that the party that strokes its base would get better turnout than the party that kicks theirs?).

1 comment August 18th, 2011 at 08:08am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Elections,Obama,Politics,Polls,Religion,Republicans

Are There No Workhouses?

Thomas Sowell laments that the poor just don’t know their place anymore, and that this will be the end of civilization as we know it.

Of course, there’s absolutely no possibility that they might have legitimate grievances, or that most of “the top” that they’re so “focused on tearing down” has been motivated by nothing more than selfishness and greed, and has been buying politicians for years to avoid participating in any of the “shared sacrifice” being heaped on the poor, the working class, the sick, and the old.

August 17th, 2011 at 08:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

S&P Report To Be Posted On Bulletin Board Outside SuperCongress’s Locker Room

The congressional reactions sound an awful lot like that of a sports team that’s been dissed and is using it as motivation:

Representative Joe Courtney, Democrat of Connecticut, said he had “read and reread the S. & P. report” several times since it was issued Friday night, and he said it could spur action by Congress. If the 12 members of the committee, to be appointed by Aug. 16 by Congressional leaders of the two parties, could agree on a deficit-reduction package, and if Congress approved it, Mr. Courtney said, “that would surprise a lot of skeptics” and could disprove the company’s criticism of the United States political system.

Representative Blake Farenthold, a freshman Republican from Texas, said the S.&P. report could have a beneficial effect. “Anything that encourages the new committee to get the job done and get us back on a rational fiscal path is a good thing,” Mr. Farenthold said.

Another freshman Republican, Representative Steve Southerland II of Florida, said the credit report created “a sense of urgency for the two parties to come together.” The possibility of a further downgrade “scares me,” Mr. Southerland said.

Go team! Let’s show S&P who’s boss!  By doing everything they tell us to!

August 8th, 2011 at 07:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

This Is What Happens When You’re Not Paying Attention

You say clueless, ridiculous things like this:

Republicans will still be able to refuse to raise taxes. But if they do, it won’t matter. The only way they can succeed in keeping taxes from rising is if the Obama administration and the Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to extend the Bush tax cuts.

Srsly?  Did you not see what happened last December???

August 1st, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Media,Obama,Politics,Taxes,Wankers

The Only Winners And Losers Who Really Matter

If you want to understand how Washington thinks and why our government and media are so worthless, just read this repellent column by the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, toting up “The debt-ceiling deal… winners and losers.”

In the winning column, he lists Mitch McConnell, the Tea Party, Obama, the Congressional Budget Office, Grover Norquist, and – I’m not kidding – David Wu.

In the losing column, he lists Congress, the Gang Of Six, commissions, and liberals.

Missing from either list: The economy or the American people.  Just like they were missing from all the political calculations and posturing by Obama and the Tea Party, who collaborated to produce a terrible deal that will make the country weaker and maybe even increase the debt it was supposed to reduce.

You also have to love this little snippet of DLC-style conventional wisdom:

But remember that Obama’s target constituency in 2012 is not his base but rather independent and moderate voters. And those fence-sitters love compromise in almost any form.

Yep, there’s nothing independents and moderates love more than politicians with no convictions at all (I personally believe Obama is a strong Republican masquerading as a weak Democrat, but the appearance is the same).  And of course they always turn out in droves, not like a motivated Democratic base would.

I understand that most politicians – and much of the media who cover them – are corrupt, shallow, self-centered creatures, and it’s folly to expect them to always put the good of the country first.  But couldn’t they at least think about it a little bit?

August 1st, 2011 at 07:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

The Real Enemies Of Democracy

As Paul Krugman points out, it’s not the Republican crazies that are destroying the country – it’s all the media enablers who present their insanity as just one, perfectly valid side of the story, or pretend that both sides of the political spectrum are equally unreasonable.

We need less balance and more truth.

1 comment July 27th, 2011 at 09:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Republicans Attack Obama For Caving In To Their Demands

Amazing.  Just amazing.

Almost as amazing as Obama’s apparent belief that cutting Social Security and Medicare without requiring any “shared sacrifice” from the corporations or individuals who can most afford it will somehow improve his prospects for re-election.

July 22nd, 2011 at 05:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Wankers

The New Business Model

One of the strange things to me about the whole deficit/austerity debate is the business world’s willingness to go along with the Republicans’ bizarre meme that the economy is slow because all the corporations are spooked by the “uncertainty” of what’s going to happen with the national debt, as opposed to, say, not enough people having enough money to buy stuff.

More specifically, why are corporations standing on the sidelines as both parties strive to constrict spending even more?  Why aren’t they demanding another stimulus or some kind of jobs plan to provide them with more customers?

Do they really buy into the Republican supply-side/austerity hooey, or is their business model so firmly based on deregulation, tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts and union-busting that they no longer care about actually, y’know, selling stuff? Or is their overseas business so lucrative (and tax-free) that they simply don’t need American consumers anymore?

July 22nd, 2011 at 08:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Taxes

Negotiating By Dummies

Here is a truly remarkable Obama quote, via a Jonathan Schwarz post about how Obama took the $1.2 trillion stimulus off the table all by himself with no help from Larry Summers:

MR. HARWOOD: Tomorrow you’re going to give a speech and talk about your economic stimulus package…It looks like it’s going to be at the high end of your range, around $775 billion. If it’s correct that, as your aides have said, the danger is doing too little rather than too much…why stop at $775 billion? Why not go to the 1.2 trillion (dollars) that some economists have recommended?

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: …We’ve seen ranges from 800 to 1.3 trillion, and our attitude was that, given the legislative process, if we start towards the low end of that, we’ll see how it develops….

That’s the Obama approach to negotiating in a nutshell right there, and the results have been predictably awful.  Look, if someone says they’re going to open with their minimum position and then work their way towards their maximum position, they are either clueless, lying about which direction their max position is… or a Republican on the other side of the table from Obama.

July 17th, 2011 at 02:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Politics,Unemployment,Wankers

How To Tell When Your Government’s Corrupt

When it fires investigators for being too competent, I’d say that’s a pretty good tell…

Not that I would expect anything less from a state whose governor is an actual criminal.

July 15th, 2011 at 07:57am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Republicans,Wankers

Republicans Save Obama From Himself… For Now

Even the prospect of cutting Social Security wasn’t enough for Republicans to get over their hatred of taxes.  I guess Obama will just have to offer them up a plan that cuts Social Security and leaves tax loopholes alone now.

I thought it was particularly telling that when offered a deficit reduction plan that raises taxes and cuts Social Security, it was the taxes that the Obama-Wants-To-Kill-Grandma Party publicly objected to.  But I guess if they complain about Social Security cuts, they won’t be able to accept whatever Obama’s safety-net-destroying Grand Bargain turns out to be.

July 11th, 2011 at 07:43am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Taxes

Seriousness, Republican Style

Shorter Thomas Sowell: Why is no one taking this fire seriously?  Stop jabbering and posturing and throw some gasoline on it already!

I also liked the part where he explains that raising taxes on the rich is both a socialist takeover and an ineffective empty gesture.  And where he explains that voting should be a privilege for the educated overclass rather than a right extended to just any peon.

Somehow, I don’t think restricting the electorate to only well-informed people would work out quite the way Sowell pictures.  On the other hand, quizzing voters would be so unwieldy and contentious, so maybe we should use income or net worth as a proxy for knowledge and intelligence, since after all only the smartest and best-educated people get rich, right?

July 6th, 2011 at 08:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Simple Answers To Simple Questions

Was it worth it?

No.

June 29th, 2011 at 07:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Economy,Iraq,War

Mitch Math

Mitch McConnell explains the debt crisis:

At some point, Democrats need to realize that the reason our nation’s debt has skyrocketed 35% over the past two years is that government spending is out of control.

America does not face a debt crisis because we tax too little, but because Washington spends too much.

This is fascinating.  While it is true that debt occurs when spending outpaces revenue, the only way you can possibly blame the national debt on spending alone is if spending increased while taxes held steady.  Of course, the reality is that in 2000 we had a surplus and were poised to start paying down the debt when a Republican president recklessly pushed through massive tax cuts that turned that surplus into a deficit, even before he started throwing money away in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And that’s without even pointing out that American taxes are actually very low in both historical and global terms.

In other words, Mitch is full of shit.  As usual.

June 28th, 2011 at 07:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Wankers

Republicans Really Do Want America To Fail

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is actually betting against the US.

Defaulting on the national debt may be bad for America, but it’s great for Republicans.  Same for a crappy economy and rampant unemployment.

1 comment June 27th, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Question Of The Day

Do Republicans oppose government spending because they think it doesn’t create jobs? Or because they think it does?

1 comment June 23rd, 2011 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Craven, Clueless, Or Cunning?

I vote Cunning.

Obama has mastered the art of achieving Republican goals through questionable compromises and concessions.  If he’s not a corporatist deficit hawk, then he is the weakest or dumbest president we have ever had.  And I really don’t think he’s either.

Obama starts at a progressive or moderate position and ends up at a Republican one.  Not because he has to, but because he wants to.

1 comment June 22nd, 2011 at 07:57am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Conservatives Fail To Understand Concept Of “Examples”

I hate to defend Obama, especially on unemployment where he truly is awful, but this is just silly:

OBAMA [explaining lack of private sector hiring]: Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of me being unable to convince them to hire more people. They’re making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies.  A couple of things have happened. Look, we went through the worst crisis since the Great Depression…..The other thing that happened, though, and this goes to the point you were just making, is there are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport, and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate….

Fox Nation: “Obama Blames ATMs For High Unemployment.” A June 14 Fox Nation post embedded video of Obama’s comments under the headline, “Obama Blames ATMs for High Unemployment.” [Fox Nation, 6/14/11]

CNN’s Erickson: “Barack Obama Thinks An ATM Ate Your Job.” In a June 15 RedState post titled, “Barack Obama Thinks an ATM Ate Your Job,” CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote:

Yesterday, Barack Obama gave away the game. Without actually using the words, Barack Obama admitted he is completely and utterly ignorant about job creation and economics. In an interview with the Today Show, Barack Obama declared that the unemployment rate remains so high because of ATMS.

(…)

Limbaugh: Obama “Cited ATM Machines As A Reason For High Unemployment.” During his June 14 radio program, Rush Limbaugh said:

There’s a new reason for high unemployment as told by Obama. He had that interview with Ann Curry at the Today Show, and basically there’s too much automation out there. He cited ATM machines as a reason for high unemployment. No, no. I kid you not. That’s right! Obama explained to NBC News the reason that companies are not hiring is not because of his policies, it’s because the economy is so automated….

He actually said this.

So Obama says that employment is down because companies aren’t hiring in a down economy and people are being replaced by machines, such as but not limited to ATMs and ticket kiosks – both of which happen to be true – and the right freaks out that “Obama said ATMs are the sole cause of unemployment.  What a maroon!”

Yet another epic intellectual honesty fail.

June 16th, 2011 at 07:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Technology,Unemployment,Wankers

If I Were Cynical…

…I might think that the Republicans don’t really care so much about reducing the debt as making sure the economy and job market don’t recover while a Democrat is in the White House.

The weird part is that Obama is so willing to go along with them.

June 9th, 2011 at 07:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

The Triumph Of Timmy

The Washington Post’s piece about the rise of Tim Geithner is conspicuously light on actual achievements. What Geithner primarily appears to be good at is convincing Obama to behave like a Republican deficit hawk (assuming he was not so inclined already).

When it comes to actual policy like how to stimulate the economy and create jobs, Geithner’s accomplishments are actually negative. But hey, his incompetence is becoming more and more influential, so that’s gotta count for something, right?

June 8th, 2011 at 11:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Devils And Angels

You know the old cliche gag where someone has an angel on one shoulder telling them to do the right thing, and a devil on the other shoulder telling them the exact opposite?  The GOP is kind of looking like that right now, and the devil is winning.

Representing the angel (relatively speaking, this is the GOP we’re talking about), David Frum:

Look at the issues the House GOP has decided to showcase this summer:

A) A budget plan that would gradually withdraw Medicare coverage from everyone younger than 55, to the point where the Congressional Budget Office estimates that senior citizens will be paying two-thirds of their health coverage out of pocket by 2030.

B) A threat to force a default on the obligations of the United States by August unless the president yields on point A.

(…)

Tea Party conservatives complain that Republicans who advocate restraint, responsibility and moderation do so in order to be nice to Obama. That’s utterly upside down. Restraint, responsibility and moderation are indispensable to the defeat of President Obama. It is Tea Party conservatism itself that is Obama’s last, best hope for a second term.

The Obama campaign can only redirect attention from the president’s own record to GOP kookiness if the GOP cooperates. The conclusion that you’d think would follow: don’t do it.

And in the devil corner we have, who else but Karl Rove:

Next year, Republicans must describe their Medicare reforms plainly, set the record straight vigorously when Democrats demagogue, and go on the attack. Congressional Republicans—especially in the House—need a political war college that schools incumbents and challengers in the best way to explain, defend and attack on the issue of Medicare reform. They have to become as comfortable talking about Medicare in the coming year as they did in talking about health-care reform last year.

There needs to be preparation and self-education, followed by extensive town halls, outreach meetings, visits to senior citizen centers, and the use of every available communications tool to get the reform message across.

Yes, a full-court press to make sure America knows all about the Republicans’ Medicare sounds like an absolutely brilliant idea!  And maybe Robert Samuelson can explain that the end of Medicare is a good thing, and exactly how cutting seniors loose with $8,000 to buy private coverage will “[force the] health-care delivery system… to restructure by reducing costs and improving quality.”

Obama doesn’t really deserve to win next year, but the GOP seems determined to help him out.

June 7th, 2011 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Elections,Healthcare,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

The First Rule Of Austerity

When you’re drowning the government in the bathtub, always be sure to keep your own head above water.  Republicans are especially good at this…

Exhibit A: Texas legislature forgets Republican vendetta against public employee pensions, protects pensions of state legislators who commit corruption-related felonies.

Exhibit B: Aggressively pro-austerity-except-when-it-comes-to-taxes Florida Governor Rick Scott rails against “failed” stimulus plan, takes $370 million in stimulus money anyway.  When asked to explain, he basically says “Stimulus is bad, mmmkay?”

Exhibit C: Aggressively pro-austerity-except-when-it-comes-to-taxes New Jersey governor Chris Christie takes a police helicopter to his son’s Little League game (plus a limo to take him 100 yards from the landing area to the field), refuses to reimburse the government for it.

So yeah, shared sacrifice, fiscal responsibility, tighten our belts, yadda yadda yadda. Just don’t expect any of the people saying that to actually abide by it.

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

June 2nd, 2011 at 08:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

I Got Your “Overreach” Right Here

Hey, remember the Republican narrative about how the Democrats got pummeled last year because Mad Socialist Obama “overreached” with his government takeover agenda?  Funny thing: As soon as the GOP took power after that wave election, it immediately got to work showing everybody what real overreach looks like, attacking collective bargaining rights, and now Medicare.

The Democrats swept the Republicans out in 2006 and 2008 because the Republicans proved themselves to be incompetent and corrupt.  The Republicans swept the Democrats out in 2010 because the Democrats proved themselves to be incompetent and corrupt.  Now the Republicans are proving themselves to be downright malevolent, and could very well swing the backlash pendulum back to the Democrats, and in a presidential election cycle too.

If the presidential election had been held in 2010, Obama might have been in serious trouble if the Republicans nominated someone even semi-sane.  But if the Republicans continue to push a nakedly pro-wealth, anti-everything-else agenda, Obama’s going to win in another landslide, whether he deserves to or not (it’s “not”, by the way).

Also, the fawning Cheney endorsement probably isn’t doing Paul Ryan any favors.  If I’m his opponent, I’m running that quote on a continuous loop from now until election day.

May 27th, 2011 at 07:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Democrats,Economy,Elections,Healthcare,Politics,Republicans

Graphic Of The Day

What’s really contributing to the national debt:

Funny how all the proposed solutions for the Terrible Scary Debt Crisis have so little to do with the things that are actually causing it.  Well, all the proposed solutions that anyone’s willing to talk about, anyway.

May 23rd, 2011 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Politics,Social Security,Taxes

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